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Are you a grey nomad done with trudging the vast and desolate highways? TONY MACKAY says trade in the 4WD and van for a berth aboard the passagemaking Hershine Voyager 52

Hershine Voyager 52

With the tourist destinations of the world becoming busier and more stressful, thousands of retirees have decided to give Australia a go and explore our wonderful island continent. But as the vans and trailers of the illustrious 'grey nomads' venture to all points of the compass in search of the perfect view and a quiet spot for a cool drink, there are those who are bored by endless bitumen, grotty caravan parks and the omnipresent thought of fungal foot ailments in shared bathrooms. Consequently, a cruise is a much better possibility and, if you can take all of the mod cons from home, well, all the better. And no thongs in the shower. Marvelous.

Enter the Hershine Voyager 52, a modern take on the traditional trawler-style passagemaker/coastal cruiser. The emphasis is on liveaboard comfort with traditional systems and a proven hull designed to carry you far, with confidence, and the ease of handling that suits cruising couples.

According to David Rowell, Australian East Coast agent for the Hershine Voyager, "This one-person operation ability is one of the most important aspects of boating. What is the good of owning a luxurious and comfortable yacht if you can't ever leave or enter the dock without suffering considerable tension due to lack of helping hands?"

Quite so. Mind you, the Hershine is really set up for two cruising couples and with the right itinerary there will be plenty of crew to deal with the lines.



The styling is modern and based on the ability to gain as much interior space as possible. As a result, there are no sidedecks aft, however, this will hardly be an impediment to comfortable cruising. What you gain is a full-width saloon, which has large picture windows and double sliding doors to the slightly small cockpit.

Double transom doors open to a huge swimming platform, which is ready for fishing, swimming and attention to the barbecue and its contents. All this flows into the saloon that also incorporates the galley into the forward bulkhead with comprehensive equipment for an enthusiastic chef. Double oven, induction cooktop, dishwasher, microwave and double fridge/freezer make this into on-water living with absolute waterfront views.

A solid teak parquet floor complements the traditional teak joinery, which is well executed. Carpet is optional for those wanting a quieter area. A floor-mounted hatch allows access to the engineroom, which can also be reached from the lazarette. There is a well-equipped desk to setup your computer and stay in touch during your adventure.

Sony entertainment systems for the evening feature include a large TV, DVD and 5.1 sound system. The Raymarine navigation system is connected to the TV system, and you can monitor your navigational progress, radar or live action in the engineroom, flybridge or boat deck.

A large L-shaped black leather sofa with burr-veneer occasional table is to port and two Norwegian recliner armchairs are to starboard. A hidden bar will be well stocked with liquid refreshments and the galley has most of its appliances concealed so as not to spoil the living-room feel of this saloon. The galley window slides open for ventilation and allows access for the chef to untie lines from the sidedeck bollard.



Forward and up is the very large wheelhouse and second living room with a very large L-shaped sofa and dining table. Two side doors give access and ventilation, and the skipper and mate are well situated in a pair of Navigator helm seats with hydraulic dampers.

The dash is comprehensively equipped with all the latest electronics and gadgets and the view forward is excellent through the large, raked windscreens. An aft-facing camera aid with manoeuvring, as will the bow and sternthrusters. To use the Australian vernacular "No worries". The foredeck is separated by a Portuguese bridge, which adds to the shippy feel, and a rather nice built-in sofa is ready to for guests to sit back and enjoy the scenery.

The flying bridge is accessed by an internal staircase, which arrives at a split level area, the upper one for navigation with helm and guest seats and a repeat of many of the instruments. A collapsible bimini and radar arch permit navigation under low bridges for those adventuring upstream. The lower aft 'boat deck' level will accommodate a casual table and chairs and is further highlighted by a small galley station with fridge, sink and barbecue. This will be perfect for those twilight soirees - a few drinks, a platter of luxury nibbles and a grandstand view that will leave other grey nomads green with envy.

Farther aft is the boat deck, and being full-width, a large tender can be accommodated for exploration voyages or just slipping ashore for more goodies. The Hershine Voyager comes complete with a Grand tender, outboard and a hydraulic davit crane for singlehanded launching.



For those done with the outdoors, the staterooms are forward and offer an amidships master with transverse queen-sized bed to starboard and a three-section head, shower and washstand area, which separates the utilities and allows natural light and ventilation into the main cabin. The guest cabin is in the bow with an island double bed and another en suite.

A Miele washer and dryer will deal with your laundry requirements while cruising. Two couples will be most comfortable in these accommodations and in the event of extra guests, the pilothouse sofa converts to a double bed if required. All of this is fully air-conditioned if you find yourself in the tropics, and full insect screens will deal with Mr Mosquito, who has his eyes on your tanned flesh. Both cabins have good storage and TV/stereo entertainment systems.



Having provisioned the galley, made the beds, fuelled and watered, and made a stringent check of the cocktail bar, you will be ready to make tracks. A pair of Volvo D9 575hp turbo-diesels awaits your command, the 11.5kVa Onan is burbling away and the Wesmar stabilisers are turned on - the world is your oyster.

While the caravan mob will be lurching up the highway, you instead will be adjusting the autopilot and heading north under sunny skies and reading up about your next picturesque anchorage. With a top speed of 20kts you can race the weather, but seasoned travellers will enjoy the experience and save a fortune with an economical 10-knot cruise and 1000nm available from the 2550lt tanks.

Under way, the Hershine performed well into a short choppy sea with her modified deep-vee hull form. She may not have the thrill of some of the latest technology offerings, however, the performance is very satisfactory and the package is well considered and equipped.

Indeed, the Hershine people talk of finishing prices rather than starting prices as the specification is very well optioned as standard at the $1.25 million price tag. Ordering your own boat allows the choice of trim and soft furnishings, but I must confess I was not particularly enamoured with the black upholstery of the test boat. However, this is hardly a major issue and one easily rectified with a quality decorator.

What are important are the layout, construction and finishes - those found behind the scenes were not to the elevated standard of some other manufacturers - these are always under the scrutiny of the individual. Those who have swapped the 4WD and the caravan will find a world of luxury and convenience awaiting their pleasure. A spirit of adventure is the final addition to conquer the great unknown.


Specifications: Hershine Voyager 52



$ 1.25 million w/ Volvo D9 575hp engines



Material:   Solid GRP to waterline w/ NPG-ISO gelcoat
Type:   Modified deep-vee planing hull
LOA:   16.66m (55ft)
Hull length:  15.45m (51ft6in)
Beam:   4.54m (15ft)
Draft:   1.20m (4ft)
Weight:   28 tonnes



Berths:   6 in three cabins
Fuel:    2550lt
Water:   750lt
Holding tank:  Yes (not disclosed)



Make/model:  Volvo Penta D9
Type:   Inline six-cylinder turbo-diesel
Displacement:   9.4lt
Rated HP:  575
Max. RPM:  2500
Weight:   1075kg



Rowell Marine,
Heron Cove Marina End of Queens Parade West,
Newport, NSW, 2106
Phone: (02) 9997 1674
Fax: (02) 9997 1124


Find Hershine Voyager boats for sale.


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